FIVE WA riders are gearing up to jump on the world stage this month.
Regan Duffy (16), of Woodvale, Deacon Paice (12), of Carramar, Kayden Minear (11), of Eglinton, Seth Shackleton (10), of Brigadoon and Mat Fabry (16), of Harvey, have been chosen to represent Australia at the World Junior Motocross Championships.
Held on August 26 at Horsham Motorcycle Club in Victoria, this will be the first time the international event has been held on home soil.
Duffy, who is a three-time Australian champion (2014, 2015, 2017), will be competing in the 125cc class.
He said he started riding when he was four.
“My dad used to race so I just naturally drifted into it,” he said.
“It’s just a great atmosphere and I love hanging out with my mates.”
He said he was “pretty excited to show what I can do” at the world event.
“I’m feeling great – I’m in the best form I’ve ever been in and I just can’t wait,” he said.
“My training has definitely stepped up; I either go to the gym or ride my bike everyday now.”
Paice said he was “happy and excited” and “also a bit nervous” to be representing Australia.
“I’m excited to ride and to also watch some of the world’s best compete against each other,” he said.
“I don’t really know what to expect because I have never been before so I’m just eager to get there and get on the track.”
He will be racing in the 65cc class after winning the state junior championship last year.
The Year 7 St Stephen’s School student said he got his first bike when he was three and joined Wanneroo Junior Motocross Club (WJMC) at the age of five.
“Dad had fun on bikes when he was younger and he wanted me to experience that too,” he said.
“When I became confident on the bike, dad joined me up to WJMC so I ride with others and this is where my love for motocross began.
“I love challenging myself and competing for the win and I really love being able to ride with my mates.”
He said he was now training whenever he could.
“My weekends are also busy with riding as the motocross season is fully underway,” he said.
This will be Minear’s second crack at the 65cc after he placed third at last year’s event in Estonia.
He said he was “really pumped to be part of a strong team again this year”.
“I can’t wait for the racing to begin,” he said.
“My favourite memories from last year was getting to fly to Europe to train and race motocross and then making the podium against the fastest kids in the world was a highlight – it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
“This year there is a great team of riders from Australia but I think the American riders will be a big challenge too.”
At just 10 years old, Shackleton will be one of the youngest in the 65cc class.
The Upper Swan Primary School student said he had been riding since he was about two years old, with this his fourth year in motocross.
“We would go out to the bush and ride but there wasn’t many places to go,” he said.
“Then Mum and Dad bought some property and this was probably when I got really into it – I had a little track at home I would blast around on.
“In 2014 I gave speedway a go but ended up joining the Chidlow motocross club at the start of 2015 and I have been hooked ever since.”
Last year, Shackleton won national titles in the 50cc and 65cc classes as well as two state titles.
Now he says he is “over the moon to be selected to represent Australia”.
“When my parents showed me the email, I jumped around in excitement,” he said.
“It feels like all the hours at the track have really paid off and I can’t wait to line up against the best in the world.”
He said he had been training “really hard” with his dad in the lead up to the event.
“We had to change my training slightly to allow for the much longer races at the World Championships,” he said.
“So I have been doing a lot of 20-minute motos to prepare myself.
“Pit boards are another thing which is new to us because juniors are not allowed these in Australia.”
Fabry said he was “super happy and excited to be selected” for the 125cc class.
“It’s my first time being chosen to represent my country and race against the world’s best,” he said.
“After missing out in previous years due to injury, I feel privileged to finally get this opportunity.
“I haven’t ridden a 125cc in nearly a year but I’m sure I will dial in quickly and give it everything I have to represent Australia as best I can.
“It’s been a dream of mine to compete in the world titles and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Returning as team manager for the fifth time, Mark Willingham said being the host nation, Australia was able to select more riders for its squad.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how the dynamic works with a large group of riders,” he said.
Duffy said having the event in Australia was definitely an advantage with “no jetlag, no language barrier and the cost is a lot less” and most riders already familiar with the track.
Team Australia competitors
125cc: Regan Duffy, Mat Fabry, Liam Andrews, Blake Fox, Dante Hyam, Jack Kukas, Bailey Malkiewicz, Korey McMahon
85cc: Ryan Alexanderson, Jett Burgess-Stevens, Jackson Camilleri, Ryder Kingsford, Deegan Mancinelli, Zac Watson, Brad West
65cc: Deacon Paice, Kayden Minear, Seth Shackleton, Jet Alsop, Seth Burchell, Jack Deveson, Braden Plath, Thomas Wood